Book Review: Public Library (and other stories)

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Ah, Ali Smith… Ali Smith is one of those rare writers that a reader can depend on; you can depend on her stories being just as intimate, funny, witty, and inventive as the ones you read  several years ago, without them feeling old or passé, but always fresh.

Public Library is in some ways a collection of love letters to literature, intertwined with interviews of other writers on the importance of public libraries to their local communities. Continue reading

Ode to Sibyl Vane

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There’s a strange little frame

On the floor of my attic

There’s a black you can’t name

On the floor of my manic

Soul

 

Let your fingertips feel

The soft poisonous canvas

Turn it slow and reveal

My unenviable atlas

Of sin

 

The night is young, dear

And so am I

Join me, don’t turn away

The dark is here to stay

 

Scream, my sweet love, and panic

It’s not another game

But believe, it’s ecstatic

To decide not to tame

The night

 

You will never know

How it feels to

Die

You will never know

What it’s like to

Lose on your own

In the night

When it all goes dark

 

Let your fingertips feel

The soft poisonous canvas

Sail on with me, we will

Explore with no compass

The length and breadth of life

And death

 

In the night

In the night

When it all goes dark

 

Isolation and References in TS Eliot’s “J. Alfred Prufrock” and “The Hollow Men”

“That is not what I meant at all; That is not it, at all.”

– T. S. Eliot, ‘The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock’ (1915)

 

Eliot’s poems “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and “The Hollow Men” are different in subject matter, but they both share the thematic framework and tone that one would expect from the author of “The Waste Land.” They can also be read as two sides of the same coin that depicts Eliot’s view of the modern world: the individual perspective, and its societal counterpart. While “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” seems to be a personal account of a dream vision, “The Hollow Men” features a collective voice of individuals who have lost their individuality and identity, and they both coexist in a world that is defined by isolation as a result of a communication breakdown. In both poems, Eliot sets the tone with references to other works, much like in “The Waste Land”, and constructs the voice of each poem based on that tone. In this way, the epigraphs serve to set the poems in their respective literary contexts in the eyes of the reader. In turn, the voice of each poem uses additional references to further explore the themes that dominate them. The main themes of isolation and miscommunication in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and “The Hollow Men” are rooted in the voices that Eliot has constructed, and are highlighted by the literary references enriching these voices. Continue reading

“Goods” by Jon Steinhagen

Most of us knew the main points of the unsettling thing that happened to Sarita Pench within eight hours of it happening to her. Sarita traditionally wasted no time broadcasting her trials and tribulations to the rest of us through social networking, the incident in question definitely falling under the heading of tribulation – not because of what actually happened (uncanny as it was), but because of what Sarita thought had actually happened (fact + fear).

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